M: Hi everybody! I’m Maya Janae Congo and I’m from Silver Spring, Maryland born and raised. I now go to school in Norfolk, Virginia at Old Dominion University where I am an aspiring nurse.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
M: Technically I have been natural all my life and my mom raised me with the mindset of keeping my hair natural no matter how much pressure other people put on me to get a perm. My hair has always been extremely thick and really long. When I had to start taking care of my hair myself it was too much for me and I did not know how to handle it. So when I got to high school, I started getting my hair straightened every two weeks and I loved how manageable it was. I got addicted to how my hair just blew in the wind and it was so bouncy! I received a lot of compliments. Way more compliments then when I wore my hair natural, so I decided to keep my hair straight.
My hair continued to be long but it started thinning. At that time I did not mind my hair being thin because I felt it was just easier to manage. But then when I got color my senior year my hair started breaking off drastically and I lost any curl pattern that my hair had. I wanted my thick, curly hair back and after finding many natural Youtubers with long, pretty, natural hair I decided I was going to transition from my heat damage and wear my hair natural from then on. Just last year I made an oath to myself to stay away from flat ironing my hair until my curls are back to their optimum health! I haven’t used heat since, and my hair has recovered drastically!
How would you describe your texture?
M: I would say my hair texture is predominantly 3c with a little mixture of 4a curls here and there. My hair behaves pretty well and mostly does what I want it to do. It only gives me problems when it gets dry because my hair tangles a lot when it is dry. My strands are also mixed, some fine and some more on the coarse side. My hair is really dense and thick! It looks thicker than it actually is though because it can get really big. My hairdresser used to joke and say that my hair was deceiving because it looked so intimidating, but once she washed it the comb slid through my hair with ease.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
M: My styling regimen over the month mostly consists of braid outs. On Sundays after washing I moisturize my hair with my favorite leave in conditioner, which is Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream, and then I seal with Organix Penetrating Argan Oil. But I recently tried Virgin Coconut Oil, which I think is much much better! That stuff works wonders on my hair I swear! I then braid my hair up, and for extra protection on my ends I apply a little Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque. I also roll my ends up a night with perm rods to keep them from splitting and to blend my hair more with the remaining heat damage. I do braid outs the most because they are really easy and my hair can’t quite do a twist out just yet because of my heat damage. Also, sometimes when I opt to change my style up I do a flexi rod set and just wash my hair and leave a little conditioner in. I then detangle with a Denman brush so my strands are really smooth (this is the key to a great flexi rod set). I smooth a little Eco Styler Gel on for hold, roll my hair up the flexi rod, and let it dry overnight. The only con to flexi rod sets is they are a PAIN to sleep in. If possible it is better to do them during a time when you can take them out the same day!
What does wash day look like for you?
M: Oh the infamous wash day lol! Wash day is a hassle for me because I have so much hair! But anyways, I braid my hair into about 8 sections and take extra virgin olive oil and saturate my whole head focusing on my scalp because I suffer from a dry, itchy scalp. I massage it into my scalp for about five minutes and let it sit for an extra 20 minutes. It’s a pre-poo/hot oil treatment all in one. Next, I shampoo with Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo and it really makes your hair feel soft and moisturized since it is sulfate free. Once I rinse out the shampoo, I condition with Tresemme Naturals Conditioner and I let that sit in my hair for 30 minutes under the dryer. After I rinse that out of my hair I then apply my leave in, seal with an oil, and braid it all back up again. I let it air dry overnight for a fab braid out in the morning. Every other week I also do a protein treatment with ORS Hair Mayonnaise to keep my curls healthy and springy.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
M: My favorite go-to hairstyle when I don’t have a lot of time is the top knot bun. I know that sounds so cliché, but it is so convenient when you’re in a rush and it can be pretty stylish when you add different headbands and earrings to accessorize. Also it is great for protecting those ends!
How do you combat shrinkage?
M: To be honest I just don’t even try. Mainly because I actually enjoy my shrinkage. It’s more fun when no one truly knows how long your hair actually is. It leaves people guessing. Secondly, I don’t really have too much shrinkage so it doesn’t bother me as much. Shrinkage just makes my hair more versatile.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
M: A problem area for me would definitely be my scalp because it tends to be dry. Deep conditioning and hot oil treatments are a must for me. Also single strand knots love my hair, so I have to detangle at least once a week to keep them away!
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
M: 2 do’s for my texture are moisture because my hair is most manageable when it is moisturized, and detangling because my hair likes to wrap around itself and dread lol.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
M: 2 don’ts for my texture are wash and go’s and not wearing a scarf at night. Wash and go’s don’t work for my texture because my hair tangles easily when not stretched and it’s a nightmare to detangle.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
M: You can find me on Instagram at manely_maya. I have plenty of pictures of me and my mane so follow me 🙂